TOP-quality children’s theatre can be a bit thin on the ground at the Fringe. There are plenty of panto-esque attempts to get the audience on side, but good stories well told are few and far between.
So it’s very encouraging to see a new kid on the block – Homespun – which for my money is the heir to companies such as Tall Stories.
Budgets being what they are, the production values on East of the Sun, West of the Moon aren’t in the same league as more established groups. But it’s testament to the storytelling skills of this foursome that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Adapted from an old Norwegian folk tale, this charming adventure story has all sorts of recognisable threads running through it. Rescued from the snow by a kind, but grumpy, bear, a girl finds herself in a castle where her every need is magically catered for (Beauty and the Beast). The only thing she cannot do is enter the Bear’s quarters (Bluebeard’s Castle) and as the story progresses, she needs to break the curse of the evil Troll Queen who has made it snow perennially (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe).
All of this is told with the minimum of set and props, but lots of well-crafted characterisation. Three suitcases and a basket is all they need, plus a few bags filled with bits and pieces. Everything else is created with their words and our imaginations, which they ably fire up.
Peppered with live music, on guitar, tin whistle and tambourine, East of the Sun, West of the Moon is living proof that you don’t need elaborate staging to hold an audience, or a catalogue of poo and wee jokes to engage a young mind. Homespun may be new to the scene, but the whole team comes to the table with strong training and theatrical experience. Here’s hoping it’s just the start of the journey.
Until 25 August. Today 12:10pm.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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